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    Sunday, January 16, 2022

    The Rampage Report (1/14/22): The Adam Cole Show

    Adam Cole and Trent Barreta

    After Rampage was left to fend for itself following a monster Dynamite that opened the year, everything normalizes and we get the show that it's always meant to be—a solid hour of wrestling and advancing storylines.

    The Adam Cole show

    At this point, Adam Cole's spot at the beginning of the Rampage card pretty much makes the show his, as it's relying on his star power to help pull in ratings. I haven't checked the numbers for the past couple of weeks, but it's not a terrible effort. Cole's been quietly pulling out solid matches in this spot, and this week's opener versus Trent Barreta is no different.

    I personally think Trent should be going for a singles championship, but being the C-players in the Adam Cole/Young Bucks/reDRagon story isn't a bad spot, either. 

    Also, I'm not sure if you've noticed, but Tony Khan has been trying to juggle multiple players in one feud up and down the card—for example, this particular story has 11 characters (Adam Cole, Young Bucks, reDRagon, Britt Baker, and Best Friends). It's nice that the AEW roster is deep (read: bloated) enough to allow stories that involve a lot of people, and not just for one story. That's saying a lot, as WWE barely has enough people to fill their two shows after the mass releases. I just hope that they have enough attention to maintain such a sprawling narrative web, because that's going to take a lot of work to keep up; I can't even imagine how one person writes and keeps track of all of that.

    Shawn Spears is still not a threat

    Rampage fits in four matches in this card, and the second one is a quick Shawn Spears squash, followed by a promo in which he calls out CM Punk, who he's facing in next week's Dynamite.

    I won't show the video but it's worth noting that TK's booking of Shawn Spears this entire time he was with the Pinnacle does him absolutely no favors when it's time to step up to a guy like Punk. How bad is it? Let's just say that the best thing to happen to Spears is actually joining the Pinnacle—from there, he's been treated as the joke who always loses. Never mind that he carries around a chair all the time; if you've been made to put other guys over, why should anyone be scared of you?

    Obviously he's going to lose to Punk on Wednesday, but if they're making it seem like he's got the slightest chance, it's not working. Maybe you should've thought about giving Spears the same kind of care and effort Wardlow's getting now.

    Jurassic Express's first tag title defense

    Jurassic Express immediately gets thrown into the fire of defending their newly won AEW Tag Team Championship, and it's with a surprisingly top-ranked team in the Dark Order unit of Alex Reynolds and John Silver.

    It's a really fun match where both teams step up their game (as is the norm for AEW matches), and it also serves as a coming-out party of sorts for the Reynolds/Hungy Dark Order unit, just in case there are still people who don't know that they're a pretty good team. 

    I like that AEW can have one-off title defenses like this due to the depth of the roster and the freedom of putting on TV without an endgame of a monthly PPV. It just makes for fresh and fulfilling television content; now the only thing left is for this consistently solid and watchable wrestling to translate into ratings and views.

    Rampage 1/14/22 Report: Solid wrestling bookended this episode of Rampage, with a couple of important stories advanced. Worth the watch. B+

    Little rampages

    • This week's Token Women's Match was a six-woman tag between the team of Kris Statlander, Leyla Hirsch, and Red Velvet versus the Bunny and Penelope Ford plus Nyla Rose, but the bigger story was Hirsch getting an attitude and starting shit with Stat. So that makes two storylines Statlander finds herself in, which emphasizes what I was saying earlier about people being juggled around. Anyway, I'm just glad that Hirsch is getting a bigger role now, and I hope this translates into a better year for her.
    • Jay Lethal explains his actions helping Dante Martin against Team Taz. Okay, I guess. I'm not used to seeing a face Lethal after seeing him basically be the 2003 Triple H of ROH, and I can't imagine people will be receptive of his character while he has controversy following him.
    • Another story they're juggling: Darby and Sting are feuding with both Andrade and the Acclaimed. Nice diss track from the Acclaimed, though, good beat.
    Photo from AEW


    Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor-in-Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three hosts of the Wrestling-Wrestling Podcast. He gets by in this hard-knock life through working in advertising. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, and he likes taking your wrestling questions over on his Curiouscat account. 

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    Item Reviewed: The Rampage Report (1/14/22): The Adam Cole Show Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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